Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Chick Hatch

Justin and started keeping two hens at our old house in town. When we moved, we sent Ouiser and Clairee out to my sister- and brother-in-law’s house because we didn’t have a chicken coop. The coop was our big outdoor project from last year. The chicks we hatched out as well as the ones we got from the feed store have really hit their stride laying eggs. We have somewhere around 22 hens and 5 roosters. I love seeing the spectrum of eggs we get every day.
Unfortunately, life gets in the way and we forgot to gather eggs for a while. Nearly a week I would say. Justin decided to fix up the giant incubator we bought at an estate sale and try to hatch out some chicks. We set out around 100 eggs and waited the requisite 21 days for them to hatch.
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Now we really didn’t have high hopes for a high hatch rate. We hardly know what we were doing. Folks keep asking what we’re going to do if they all hatch out and I replied I was going to be like Oprah passing out party favors.
Realistically, we planned to let them hatch, grow them out in the brooder until we could fairly accurately guess their gender, keep what hens we felt we could manage, give the rest away, and sell the roosters.
Three days before we were supposed to have chicks, Justin told me he thought he heard cheeping from the incubator. Amazingly, we had THREE chicks hatch out early.
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It was fun every morning and evening seeing how many chicks had made their way out of the eggs. At one time, Justin opened the incubator and 16 had hatched out overnight.
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As the numbers grew, we upgraded from a galvanized tub to a kiddie pool. With three post-hatch mortalities, we ended up with 54 chicks. We were proud of our 50+% hatch rate for only our second incubator trial and the first time in the big old incubator.IMG_7108
Our former neighbors in town had a brooder they gave us that is perfect for the chicks. Justin got it loaded up and brought out to the house. We filled it with pine shavings, the heat lamp, feeders, and waterers.
We have been collecting the eggs again for Michael to hatch out some of his own in his incubator.

Cook House Remodel: Foyer, Hallway, and Stairs

Because Georgia’s nursery and Wyatt’s bedrooms are upstairs, we knew now was the best time to tackle our stairway. We love that our house was so very well-built but the decor is dated to say the least. The pink cast iron railing, hunter green walls, and yellow/green carpet had been past its prime for decades I am sure.
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Our idea was that the green paint was livable if we could just remove the carpet, retread the stairs, and paint the railing. And then this happened:
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The ceiling fan (dated but okay for the time being) began to pull down out of the ceiling. We were scared that one day it would just crash on someone’s head. The only way to reach the 18’ wiring was to rent scaffolding. At that point, we decided to go ahead and paint the walls with a fresh coat of paint since we didn’t want to have to rent it twice. Our stair project was quickly growing into a multi-area project.
Just removing the railing made a huge difference immediately! With the railing out of the way, Justin started in on changing out the light in the foyer and painting the walls a deep red color.
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After the painting was done, Justin started ripping out carpet, carpet strips, and the stair treads. We had to start literally from the ground up.
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He and his daddy got the stairs treads routed, installed, and ready for stain. I simultaneously repainted the hunter green front door a rich, glossy black.
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I am a terrible decision maker when it comes to paint colors, stains, furniture, etc. We ended up buying eight sample pots of stain before deciding on a color.
Thankfully Justin is a patient man. He got the stairs conditioned and stained and reinstalled fairly easily.
Here’s where the project grew yet again. Justin decided while we were ripping up the stair carpet, we might as well rip out the hall carpet since it was all connected basically. At a little less than 100 square feet, we opted to get white pine tongue-and-groove flooring and stain it to match while we were working on the stairs. I took days and days of Justin nailing, cleaning, wiping, staining, and sealing. He was working on that hard floor on his knees for hours on end. It really was the best decision and the floors turned out perfectly.
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He sealed the floors with polyurethane and meticulously applied the sealer to the stairs and risers as well.
Both railings got a fresh coat of hammered bronze paint. It took four folks to bring them back in and reinstall them. These cast iron railings are well-built too but they aren’t light for sure!
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After the railing install and adding trim and shoe molding to the stairs, Justin got it all caulked up and repainted. The before and after shots are just amazing to me and it’s even more impressive in person! I am glad I have a handy husband that is willing and able to tackle such huge projects.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Georgia Lou Cook: Nursery and Maternity Photos

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Miss Georgia Lou Cook in less than a week but I am just now getting around to posting about her nursery and our maternity session with Sami.
Mama and Daddy saved the antique canopy crib they used for us and offered it for us to use for Georgia. Justin and I got it sanded, painted, and put upstairs and Mama made her canopy topper and curtain to match.
Mrs. Desiree made this beautiful colored blanket for Georgia based on the picture of the flowers in the mason jar I found online. She did an amazing job. I wanted to know that all babies don’t just need pastels to be happy. Sami actually bought me the print to hang on the walls in a chunky gorgeous gold frame. Georgia will be here soon and I STILL don’t have stuff hung on the walls!
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We also got my old Jenny Lind cradle down from the top of Mama and Daddy’s garage. It is going to be perfect to set Georgia in during nap time so I don’t have to take her all the way upstairs.
Justin spent his Valentine’s Day doing the one thing he really despises: he painted Georgia’s nursery this bright cheery turquoise color. He also surprised me with her monogram cut out on wood and painted for the door.
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I snagged this rocking chair for her nursery for $20 and gave it a good coat of chalk paint. I love how simple it is.
We got all of her hand-me-downs and new clothes organized and put into the wardrobe. This little girl will be well-dressed for sure. I am thankful for several friends that helped us get her ready by passing along their stuff.
Wyatt and I went to a big siblings class at the hospital. He was able to learn about how to hold the baby, how to interact with her, and even how to change a diaper even though he said he was, “never, ever, ever, NEVER changing a dirty diaper!” He even told Mama, “Mimi, YOU wanted the girl; YOU change her!”
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We traveled up to Musella to get some maternity photos in Dickey Farms’ peach orchards. Suzi did her maternity photos at Lane Southern Orchards when she was pregnant with Pax so this idea isn’t totally original but I find it fitting for a girl named Georgia to have a peach themed maternity session. I look forward to following up with a newborn session of her in piles of fresh Georgia peaches! I am thankful to have many connections in the agriculture industry to call on for locations for our photos and Mrs. Cynde Dickey didn’t disappoint! We had a rare cold snap and were fighting the setting sun that evening so we had to do this session in a hurry. Sami got so many of the best photos that I find it hard to choose my favorites. They are all amazing! Sami also wrote a blog post on her photography blog:
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